Socializing only children involves different strategies than parenting two or more kids. These tips for parents of “onlies” will help you avoid the stereotype of selfish, badly behaved only children.
Proactive parenting can socialize only children so they receive the same benefits as kids with siblings — which is what these tips are all about.
Before the tips, a quip:
“You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have, for instance.” ~ Franklin P. Jones.
If you’re running out of strategies for successful parenting and socializing only children, read Parenting an Only Child: The Joys and Challenges of Raising Your One and Only.
And check out these tips for parents of onlies…
Socializing Only Children – 5 Tips for Parents of Onlies
How many times have you seen parents with their only children, and wondered who’s running the show? Onlies don’t have to negotiate the needs of siblings or share their toys, but if they are to get along with other children and people, they need to learn those skills.
Implement rules about behavior
Start teaching your kids to share when they are little by dividing up blocks or other toys when you are playing with them. Play games with them, and be firm about taking turns. Model the behavior you want to see in your child by negotiating with your partner on which family activity to do on the weekend, or who gets the last piece of chocolate in the box. Your only child will soon get the idea and will be able to use those skills when playing with other children.
Avoid the “lonely only” trap
A child doesn’t have to be lonely just because he’s an only. It may sound like the title of a bad country song, but it’s still true. The best way for parents of onlies to learn how to interact with children (most onlies are fine interacting with adults) is to have kids to play with. If your child has cousins, invite them over to play regularly. Perhaps there are kids in the neighbourhood who could become friends. Arrange play dates with your friends’ children so that your only child soon has a network of friends. It’s like “renting” a sibling or two – and the process will help to socialize your child like nothing else will.
Get your only child involved in sports and games
Sports and games are great for teaching your only child other useful socialization skills. Playing team sports helps only children learn to work with a team toward a common goal, and to accept the results with grace (whether they won or lost!). Playing individual sports (but still as part of a team) can increase self-discipline. And of course, involvement in sports can help only children remain physically fit and learn how to lead without dominating.
Test your onlies’ skills
Once you have begun to teach your only child the social skills she needs, give her a chance to model them. Host a party and give your only child some responsibility, such as serving snacks or checking that guests have drinks. Your only child will welcome the responsibility and the chance to demonstrate well rounded social behaviour – and you’ll be proud of your success in socializing your only.
If you’ve recently moved, your only child may find How to Find New Friends After Moving to a New City helpful.
If you have any thoughts or questions about these tips for socializing only children, please comment below…
Sharon Hurley Hall is a professional web content writer and blogger. She runs Get Paid to Write Online, which offers tips and advice for freelance writers. Follow her on Twitter:@shurleyhall. You can see Sharon’s other Quips and Tips posts here.